New Mexico

Only on ABC-7: Body of missing Las Cruces man at morgue weeks before family learns of his death

Family inquired about John Does prior to sheriff's involvement

Only on ABC-7: Body of missing Las Cruces man at morgue week

LAS CRUCES - A Las Cruces family wants answers as to why it took more than a month to find out their brother was dead and his body was being held at the Mountain View Medical Center morgue. 

The family started searching for Rudy Cadena near the end of July. But it wasn't until three days ago that they learned he had died and his body had been sitting in the morgue at the hospital the entire time. They were told he died of natural causes.

ABC-7 sat down with four of Cadena's sisters who are absolutely devastated and frustrated. They said the 59-year-old suffered from medical issues and relied heavily on medication.

When  they hadn't heard from him in a while they filed a missing persons report. They even checked with the Mountain View hospital and were told two unidentified males were there but couldn't release any more details.

"It's been very difficult for all of us because I'm sure the hospital has a protocol when they receive a John Doe into their hospital," said Terry Evaro, Cadena's sister. "I would think they'd say we have people here we need to identify them. We would think they would finger print or have some sort of record that they would follow through but they didn't."

It wasn't until the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department issued a subpoena to Mountain View  on Monday that detectives were able to identify one of those John Does as Cadena.

But the family is left asking, why did this take so long?

In a statement to ABC-7, Veronica Peery, the director of marketing & business development for MountainView Regional Medical Center said, "We are committed to treating all of our patients with dignity and respect. When a patient comes into the hospital unconscious and without identification, we work closely with local law enforcement agencies to try to identify the patient and any family members they may have while maintaining compliance with federal patient privacy requirements."

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